At the age of 51, Le Bristol Paris’ Head Chef Eric Frechon has already spent 35 years in restaurants so when he says that cooking is ‘everything to him’, we believe him. One might ask where this passion originates and his answer is ‘the desire to own a bicycle!’ At 13, he asked his father for a bike and his response was to go and work to buy himself one. At the time, the family lived by the sea in the area of Treport Seine-Maritime and Eric was in a restaurant where he worked on weekends and during school holidays. He soon discovered his love for food and decided to study at Catering school in Rouen. Eric’s culinary career started at just 17 when he left his hometown of Treport in Normandy to join Jean Sabine’s team at ‘La Grande Cascade’ in Paris. He then trained alongside the most distinguished chefs in Paris including Emile Tabourdiau at Le Bristol Paris (where he would be based at a later stage) and Claude Deligne’s team at ‘Taillevent’ where he was promoted from Apprentice to Chef de Partie. It was there that he learned the basics of cooking classic ingredients under the tutelage of Jean-Claude Vrinat, Director of Taillevent.
After two years spent honing his culinary skills at ‘Taillevent’, he embarked on a new adventure in Spain to assist Chef Patrick Bausier, whom he had met at Le Bristol Paris, at ‘Le Byblos Andaluz’ in Malaga.
He returned to Paris two years later and worked at celebrated Parisian establishments ‘La Tour d’Argent’ with Chef Manuel Martinez and at ‘Hotel de Crillon’ with Chef Christian Constant. By the time he arrived at ‘Hotel de Crillon’, Eric had spent more than eight years in the restaurant industry and had mastered fine dining and classic cooking. Together with Chef Christian Constant, he had discovered what he was looking for from the beginning – a conviviality through cooking using the best country products. He remained at ‘Hotel de Crillon’ for seven years, three of which were spent as Chef of the fine dining restaurant and was awarded ‘Meilleur Ouvrier de France’ in 1993.
In 1996, he opened his first restaurant ‘La Verriere’ (in the 19th arrondissement of Paris) to much critical acclaim and returned to Le Bristol Paris as Head Chef in 1999. He won a second Michelin star for the hotel in 2001 and was awarded the ‘3 star-espoir’ in 2008 (a preliminary honour to the coveted third Michelin star). In the same year, he was decorated as a Knight of the Order of the “Légion d’Honneur” by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, which firmly cementing his status as a national treasure. In March 2009, Eric was awarded a third Michelin star and was voted ‘Chef of the Year’ by ‘Le Chef’ magazine in September. In 2014, Epicure was awarded "Best Restaurant in the World" by The Daily Meal, Saveur US magazine and the World Luxury Hotel Awards.